Insomnia Abstracts 2 Therapies

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The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial
(Abbasi et al., 2012) Download
BACKGROUND: Nearly 50% of older adults have insomnia, with difficulty in getting to sleep, early awakening, or feeling unrefreshed on waking. With aging, several changes occur that can place one at risk for insomnia, including age-related changes in various circadian rhythms, environmental and lifestyle changes, and decreased nutrients intake, absorption, retention, and utilization. The natural N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) antagonist and GABA agonist, Mg(2+), seems to play a key role in the regulation of sleep. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of magnesium supplementation to improve insomnia in elderly. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A double-blind randomized clinical trial was conducted in 46 elderly subjects, randomly allocated into the magnesium or the placebo group and received 500 mg magnesium or placebo daily for 8 weeks. Questionnaires of insomnia severity index (ISI), physical activity, and sleep log were completed at baseline and after the intervention period. Anthropometric confounding factors, daily intake of magnesium, calcium, potassium, caffeine, calories form carbohydrates, and total calorie intake, were obtained using 24-h recall for 3 days. Blood samples were taken at baseline and after the intervention period for analysis of serum magnesium, renin, melatonin, and cortisol. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS19 and P values < 0.05 were considered as statistically significant. RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in assessed variables between the two groups at the baseline. As compared to the placebo group, in the experimental group, dietary magnesium supplementation brought about statistically significant increases in sleep time (P = 0.002), sleep efficiency (P = 0.03), concentration of serum renin (P < 0.001), and melatonin (P = 0.007), and also resulted in significant decrease of ISI score (P = 0.006), sleep onset latency (P = 0.02) and serum cortisol concentration (P = 0.008). Supplementation also resulted in marginally between-group significant reduction in early morning awakening (P = 0.08) and serum magnesium concentration (P = 0.06). Although total sleep time (P = 0.37) did not show any significant between-group differences. CONCLUSION: Supplementation of magnesium appears to improve subjective measures of insomnia such as ISI score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening, and likewise, insomnia objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol, in elderly people.


The use of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) in improving sleep in patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer: a phase III randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study (NCCTG Trial, N01C5).
            (Barton et al., 2011) Download
Sleep disorders are a substantial problem for cancer survivors, with prevalence estimates ranging from 23% to 61%. Although numerous prescription hypnotics are available, few are approved for long-term use or have demonstrated benefit in this circumstance. Hypnotics may have unwanted side effects and are costly, and cancer survivors often wish to avoid prescription drugs. New options with limited side effects are needed. The purpose of this trial was to evaluate the efficacy of a Valerian officinalis supplement for sleep in people with cancer who were undergoing cancer treatment. Participants were randomized to receive 450 mg of valerian-or placebo orally 1 hour before bedtime for 8 weeks. The primary end point was area under the curve (AUC) of the overall Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Secondary outcomes included the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire, the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI), and the Profile of Mood States (POMS). Toxicity was evaluated with both self-reported numeric analogue scale questions and the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), version 3.0. Questionnaires were completed at baseline and at 4 and 8 weeks. A total of 227 patients were randomized into this study between March 19, 2004, and March 9, 2007, with 119 being evaluable for the primary end point. The AUC over the 8 weeks for valerian was 51.4 (SD = 16), while that for placebo was 49.7 (SD = 15), with a P value of 0.6957. A supplemental, exploratory analysis revealed that several fatigue end points, as measured by the BFI and POMS, were significantly better for those taking valerian over placebo. Participants also reported less trouble with sleep and less drowsiness on valerian than placebo. There were no significant differences in toxicities as measured by self-report or the CTCAE except for mild alkaline phosphatase increases, which were slightly more common in the placebo group. This study failed to provide data to support the hypothesis that valerian, 450 mg, at bedtime could improve sleep as measured by the PSQI. However, exploratory analyses revealed improvement in some secondary outcomes, such as fatigue. Further research with valerian exploring physiologic effects in oncology symptom management may be warranted.

Tolerability and efficacy of valerian/lemon balm in healthy volunteers (a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study)
            (Cerny and Schmid, 1999) Download
This clinical study was conducted to evaluate the tolerability and efficacy of a new galenic formulation of a herbal sleeping aid, a valerian/lemon balm combination, to treat minor sleep disorders. The study was performed according to a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel group, multicentre design with healthy volunteers. the valerian lemon balm group revealed a significantly higher quality of sleep (33%) compared to the placebo group (9%). P-value 0.04

Critical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality
            (Donath et al., 2000) Download
A carefully designed study assessed the short-term (single dose) and long-term (14 days with multiple dosage) effects of a valerian extract on both objective and subjective sleep parameters. The investigation was performed as a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. Sixteen patients (4 male, 12 female) with previously established psychophysiological insomnia (ICSD-code 1.A.1.), and with a median age of 49 (range: 22 to 55), were included in the study. The main inclusion criteria were reported primary insomnia according to ICSD criteria, which was confirmed by polysomnographic recording, and the absence of acute diseases. During the study, the patients underwent 8 polysomnographic recordings: i.e., 2 recordings (baseline and study night) at each time point at which the short and long-term effects of placebo and valerian were tested. The target variable of the study was sleep efficiency. Other parameters describing objective sleep structure were the usual features of sleep-stage analysis, based on the rules of Rechtschaffen and Kales (1968), and the arousal index (scored according to ASDA criteria, 1992) as a sleep microstructure parameter. Subjective parameters such as sleep quality, morning feeling, daytime performance, subjectively perceived duration of sleep latency, and sleep period time were assessed by means of questionnaires. After a single dose of valerian, no effects on sleep structure and subjective sleep assessment were observed. After multiple-dose treatment, sleep efficiency showed a significant increase for both the placebo and the valerian condition in comparison with baseline polysomnography. We confirmed significant differences between valerian and placebo for parameters describing slow-wave sleep. In comparison with the placebo, slow-wave sleep latency was reduced after administration of valerian (21.3 vs. 13.5 min respectively, p<0.05). The SWS percentage of time in bed (TIB) was increased after long-term valerian treatment, in comparison to baseline (9.8 vs. 8.1% respectively, p<0.05). At the same time point, a tendency for shorter subjective sleep latency, as well as a higher correlation coefficient between subjective and objective sleep latencies, were observed under valerian treatment. Other improvements in sleep structure - such as an increase in REM percentage and a decrease in NREM1 percentage - took place simultaneously under placebo and valerian treatment. A remarkable finding of the study was the extremely low number of adverse events during the valerian treatment periods (3 vs. 18 in the placebo period). In conclusion, treatment with a herbal extract of radix valerianae demonstrated positive effects on sleep structure and sleep perception of insomnia patients, and can therefore be recommended for the treatment of patients with mild psychophysiological insomnia.


 

Polysomnographic evaluation of the hypnotic effect of Valeriana edulis standardized extract in patients suffering from insomnia.
            (Herrera-Arellano et al., 2001) Download
Valeriana edulis ssp. procera, commonly known as "valeriana mexicana", is widely used in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety. To evaluate the hypnotic effect and safety of 450 mg of Valeriana edulis standardized hydroalcoholic extract in patients with insomnia, a double-blind, cross-over, controlled study was carried out. Valeriana officinalis extract, at the same doses, was used as a positive control. In a sleep laboratory, polysomnographic (PSG) recordings were performed for analyzing the quantity and architecture of sleep as well as evaluating morning sleepiness, memory quotient, and side effects. The experimental procedures were conducted on four consecutive nights of 8 h each. Twenty patients were admitted. Based on the PSG results, V. edulis reduced the number of awaking episodes while both treatments increased the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep; this last parameter was better improved by V. officinalis extract. Other PSG data did not achieve outstanding statistical differences, but the clinical tendency with both treatments was to increase the sleep efficiency index. These Valeriana extracts produced beneficial effects on sleep architecture because they diminished the time of stages 1 and 2 in non-REM sleep while they increased delta sleep. Validated clinical tests showed that both species reduced notoriously the morning sleepiness, that was further improved by V. officinalis extract, and did not affect anterograde memory. In only three cases were slight side effects observed, one due to the experimental extract. Chemical analysis of the hydroalcoholic extract of V. edulis indicated that this extract contains 0.26 % of dihydroisovaltrate as the main valepotriate, and that it does not contain valerenic acid. In general, the results support the hypnotic effect and safety of acute treatment of Valeriana edulis and Valeriana officinalis on patients suffering insomnia.

Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.
            (Howatson et al., 2012) Download
BACKGROUND:  Tart Montmorency cherries have been reported to contain high levels of phytochemicals including melatonin, a molecule critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans. PURPOSE:  The aim of our investigation was to ascertain whether ingestion of a tart cherry juice concentrate would increase the urinary melatonin levels in healthy adults and improve sleep quality. METHODS:  In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 20 volunteers consumed either a placebo or tart cherry juice concentrate for 7 days. Measures of sleep quality recorded by actigraphy and subjective sleep questionnaires were completed. Sequential urine samples over 48 h were collected and urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (major metabolite of melatonin) determined; cosinor analysis was used to determine melatonin circadian rhythm (mesor, acrophase and amplitude). In addition, total urinary melatonin content was determined over the sampled period. Trial differences were determined using a repeated measures ANOVA. RESULTS:  Total melatonin content was significantly elevated (P < 0.05) in the cherry juice group, whilst no differences were shown between baseline and placebo trials. There were significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency total (P < 0.05) with cherry juice supplementation. Although there was no difference in timing of the melatonin circardian rhythm, there was a trend to a higher mesor and amplitude. CONCLUSIONS:  These data suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.

The use of music to promote sleep in older women.
            (Johnson, 2003) Download
Fifty-two women over the age of 70 participated in a study to investigate the use of an individualized music protocol to promote sleep onset and maintenance. They were recruited from the practices of physicians and nurse practitioners, and met the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (1990), and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994). Results indicated that the use of music decreased time to sleep onset and the number of nighttime awakenings. Consequently, it increased satisfaction with sleep. Nurses may wish to recommend the use of music at bedtime to older women with insomnia.

Aqueous extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) improves sleep quality in man.
            (Leathwood et al., 1982) Download
The effect of an aqueous extract of valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) root on subjectively rated sleep measures was studied on 128 people. Each person received 9 samples to test (3 containing placebo, 3 containing 400 mg valerian extract and 3 containing a proprietary over-the-counter valerian preparation). The samples, identified only by a code number, and presented in random order, were taken on non-consecutive nights. Valerian produced a significant decrease in subjectively evaluated sleep latency scores and a significant improvement in sleep quality: the latter was most notable among people who considered themselves poor or irregular sleepers, smokers, and people who thought they normally had long sleep latencies. Night awakenings, dream recall and somnolence the next morning were relatively unaffected by valerian. With the proprietary valerian-containing preparation, the only change was a significant increase in reports of feeling more sleepy than normal the next morning. Thus the questionnaire, simple to use and non-invasive, provides a sensitive means for detecting the effects of mild sedatives on different aspects of sleep in man. It also allows identification within the test population of the subgroups most affected.


Vitamins and sleep: An exploratory study
            (Lichstein et al., 2007) Download
STUDY OBJECTIVE: We analyzed archival data from an epidemiology study to test the association between vitamin use and sleep. DESIGN: Random digit dialing was used to recruit 772 people ranging in age from 20 to 98 for a study of people's sleep experience. These individuals completed a set of questionnaires about their sleep, health, and daytime functioning. Five hundred and nineteen of these participants had available vitamin use data. SETTING: Home. PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred and nineteen people participated. Recruitment applied minimal screening criteria and no attempt was made to favor people with or without sleep disturbance. INTERVENTIONS: This survey included no intervention. Participants completed 2weeks of sleep diaries and a set of questionnaires. Of particular salience to the present study, participants reported their vitamin use in listing all medications and nutritional supplements being used currently. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: For those individuals taking a multivitamin or multiple single vitamins, sleep diaries revealed poorer sleep compared to non-vitamin users in the number and duration of awakenings during the night. After controlling for age, ethnicity, and sex the difference in number of awakenings was still marginally significant. The rate of insomnia, conservatively defined, and consumption of sleep medication were also marginally significantly higher among individuals taking multi-/multiple vitamins compared to those not taking vitamins. CONCLUSIONS: Disturbed sleep maintenance was associated with multi-/multiple vitamin use. Five equally plausible explanations were advanced to explain this association including vitamins cause poor sleep, poor sleepers seek vitamins, and unidentified factors promote both poor sleep and vitamin use. These data are considered preliminary. Methodological characteristics of future studies were described that hold the promise of more clearly illuminating the association between vitamins and sleep.

Double blind study of a valerian preparation
            (Lindahl and Lindwall, 1989) Download
Valerian root contains two substances of special pharmacological interest--valepotriates and sesquiterpenes. The former, which has been used for standardization of the drug, is cytotoxic. The latter has no such effect. Both have sedative effects. A double blind test has been carried out on a preparation (VALERINA NATT) containing primarily sesquiterpenes. When compared with placebo it showed a good and significant effect on poor sleep (p less than 0.001). Forty-four percent reported perfect sleep and 89% reported improved sleep from the preparation. No side effects were observed.


 

Vitamin B12 treatment for sleep-wake rhythm disorders
            (Okawa et al., 1990) Download
Vitamin B12 (VB12) was administered to two patients suffering for many years from different sleep-wake rhythm disorders. One patient was a 15-year-old blind girl suffering from a free-running sleep-wake rhythm (hypernychthemeral syndrome) with a period of about 25 h. In spite of repeated trials to entrain her sleep-wake cycle to the environmental 24-h rhythm, her free-running rhythm persisted for about 13 years. When she was 14 years old, administration of VB12 per os was started at the daily dose of 1.5 mg t.i.d. Shortly thereafter, her sleep-wake rhythm was entrained to the environmental 24-h rhythm, and her 24-h sleep-wake rhythm was maintained while she was on the medication. Within 2 months of the withholding of VB12, her free-running sleep-wake rhythm reappeared. The VB12 level in the serum was within the normal range both before and after treatment. The other patient was a 55-year-old man suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome since 18 years of age. After administration of VB12 at the daily doses of 1.5 mg, his sleep-wake rhythm disorder was improved. The good therapeutic effect lasted for more than 6 months while he was on the medication.

A televised, web-based randomised trial of an herbal remedy (valerian) for insomnia
            (Oxman et al., 2007) Download
BACKGROUND: This trial was conducted as part of a project that aims to enhance public understanding and use of research in decisions about healthcare by enabling viewers to participate in research and to follow the process, through television reports and on the web. Valerian is an herbal over-the-counter drug that is widely used for insomnia. Systematic reviews have found inconsistent and inconclusive results about its effects. METHODS: Participants were recruited through a weekly nationally televised health program in Norway. Enrolment and data collection were over the Internet. 405 participants who were 18 to 75 years old and had insomnia completed a two week diary-keeping run-in period without treatment and were randomised and mailed valerian or placebo tablets for two weeks. All participants and investigators were blind to treatment until after the analysis was completed. FINDINGS: For the primary outcome of a minimally important improvement in self-reported sleep quality (>/=0.5 units on a 7 point scale), the difference between the valerian group (29%) and the placebo group (21%) was not statistically significant (difference 7.5%; 95% CI-0.9 to 15.9; p = 0.08). On the global self-assessment question at the end of the treatment period 5.5% (95% CI 0.2 to 10.8) more participants in the valerian group perceived their sleep as better or much better (p = 0.04). There were similar trends favouring the valerian group for night awakenings (difference = 6.0%, 95% CI-0.5 to 12.5) and sleep duration (difference = 7.5%, 95% CI-1.0 to 16.1). There were no serious adverse events and no important or statistically significant differences in minor adverse events. INTERPRETATION: Based on this and previous studies, valerian appears to be safe, but with modest beneficial effects at most on insomnia compared to placebo. The combined use of television and the Internet in randomised trials offers opportunities to answer questions about the effects of health care interventions and to improve public understanding and use of randomised trials. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN72748991.

Can valerian improve the sleep of insomniacs after benzodiazepine withdrawal?
            (Poyares et al., 2002) Download
PURPOSE: The authors studied the sleep of patients with insomnia who complained of poor sleep despite chronic use of benzodiazepines (BZDs). The sample consisted of 19 patients (mean age 43.3+/-10.6 years) with primary insomnia (DSM-IV), who had taken BZDs nightly, for 7.1+/-5.4 years. The control group was composed of 18 healthy individuals (mean age 37+/-8 years). Sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) of the patients was analyzed with period amplitude analysis (PAA) and associated algorithms, during chronic BZD use (Night 1), and after 15 days of a valerian placebo trial (initiated after washout of BZD, Night 2). Sleep of control subjects was monitored in parallel. RESULTS: Valerian subjects reported significantly better subjective sleep quality than placebo ones, after BZD withdrawal, despite the presence of a few side effects. However, some of the differences found in sleep structure between Night 1 and Night 2 in both the valerian and placebo groups may be due to the sleep recovery process after BZD washout. Example of this are: the decrease in Sleep Stage 2 and in sigma count; the increase in slow-wave sleep (SWS), and delta count, which were found to be altered by BZD ingestion. There was a significant decrease in wake time after sleep onset (WASO) in valerian subjects when compared to placebo subjects; results were similar to normal controls. Nonetheless, valerian-treated patients also presented longer sleep latency and increased alpha count in SWS than control subjects. CONCLUSIONS: The decrease in WASO associated with the mild anxiolytic effect of valerian appeared to be the major contributor to subjective sleep quality improvement found after 2-week of treatment in insomniacs who had withdrawn from BDZs. Despite subjective improvement, sleep data showed that valerian did not produce faster sleep onset; the increase in alpha count compared with normal controls may point to residual hyperarousabilty, which is known to play a role in insomnia. Nonetheless, we lack data on the extent to which a sedative drug can improve alpha sleep EEG. Thus, the authors suggest that valerian had a positive effect on withdrawal from BDZ use.


 

A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an amino acid preparation on timing and quality of sleep.
            (Shell et al., 2010) Download
This study was an outpatient, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a combination amino acid formula (Gabadone) in patients with sleep disorders. Eighteen patients with sleep disorders were randomized to either placebo or active treatment group. Sleep latency and duration of sleep were measured by daily questionnaires. Sleep quality was measured using a visual analog scale. Autonomic nervous system function was measured by heart rate variability analysis using 24-hour electrocardiographic recordings. In the active group, the baseline time to fall asleep was 32.3 minutes, which was reduced to 19.1 after Gabadone administration (P = 0.01, n = 9). In the placebo group, the baseline latency time was 34.8 minutes compared with 33.1 minutes after placebo (P = nonsignificant, n = 9). The difference was statistically significant (P = 0.02). In the active group, the baseline duration of sleep was 5.0 hours (mean), whereas after Gabadone, the duration of sleep increased to 6.83 (P = 0.01, n = 9). In the placebo group, the baseline sleep duration was 7.17 +/- 7.6 compared with 7.11 +/- 3.67 after placebo (P = nonsignificant, n = 9). The difference between the active and placebo groups was significant (P = 0.01). Ease of falling asleep, awakenings, and am grogginess improved. Objective measurement of parasympathetic function as measured by 24-hour heart rate variability improved in the active group compared with placebo. An amino acid preparation containing both GABA and 5-hydroxytryptophan reduced time to fall asleep, decreased sleep latency, increased the duration of sleep, and improved quality of sleep.

Sentra PM (a Medical Food) and Trazodone in the Management of Sleep Disorders.
            (Shell et al., 2012) Download
Sleep disorders are a common and poorly treated disease state. This double blind, four arm placebo-controlled, randomized trial compared (1) low dose trazodone, (2) Sentra PM, a neurotransmitter based medical food, (3) the joint administration of trazodone and the medical food Sentra PM and (4) placebo. There were 111 subjects studied in 12 independent sites. Subjects underwent baseline screening, informed consent and an initial sleep questionnaire. After 14 days subjects underwent a second evaluation by questionnaire. At baseline and Day 14 the subjects underwent 24 hour ECG recordings that were analyzed in the frequency domain of heart rate variability. The specific high frequency parasympathetic autonomic nervous system activity was analyzed. The primary endpoints were sleep latency and parasympathetic autonomic nervous system improvement in sleeping hours. The results showed improvement in sleep latency for the Sentra PM and combination of Sentra PM and trazodone (-41 and -56 minutes P < 0.001). There was an improvement in quality of sleep for the amino acid formulation Sentra PM and the combination (3.86 and 6.48 Likert units on a 10 point scale P < 0.001). There was an activation of circadian activity percent at night in the medical food and combination groups while there was no change in parasympathetic activity in either the placebo or trazodone group. These data indicate that Sentra PM can improve the quality of sleep, the response to trazodone as a sleep medication and parasympathetic autonomic nervous system activity.

A randomized clinical trial of valerian fails to improve self-reported, polysomnographic, and actigraphic sleep in older women with insomnia.
            (Taibi et al., 2009) Download
OBJECTIVE:  To test the effects of nightly valerian (Valeriana officinalis) extract to improve sleep of older women with insomnia. METHODS:  Participants in this phase 2 randomized, double-blind, crossover controlled trial were 16 older women (mean age=69.4+/-8.1 years) with insomnia. Participants took 300 mg of concentrated valerian extract or placebo 30 min before bedtime for 2 weeks. Sleep was assessed in the laboratory by self-report and polysomnography (PSG) at baseline and again at the beginning and end of each treatment phase (total of nine nights in the laboratory) and at home by daily sleep logs and actigraphy. RESULTS:  There were no statistically significant differences between valerian and placebo after a single dose or after 2 weeks of nightly dosing on any measure of sleep latency, wake after sleep onset (WASO), sleep efficiency, and self-rated sleep quality. In comparing each treatment to baseline in separate comparisons, WASO significantly increased (+17.7+/-25.6 min, p=.02) after 2 weeks of nightly valerian, but not after placebo (+6.8+/-26.4 min, NS). Side effects were minor and did not differ significantly between valerian and placebo. CONCLUSION:  Valerian did not improve sleep in this sample of older women with insomnia. Findings from this study add to the scientific evidence that does not support use of valerian in the clinical management of insomnia.

Kava and valerian in the treatment of stress-induced insomnia
            (Wheatley, 2001b) Download
Kava and valerian are herbal remedies, claimed to have anxiolytic and sedative properties respectively, without dependence potential or any appreciable side-effects. In this pilot study, 24 patients suffering from stress-induced insomnia were treated for 6 weeks with kava 120 mg daily. This was followed by 2 weeks off treatment and then, 5 having dropped out, 19 received valerian 600 mg daily for another 6 weeks. Stress was measured in three areas: social, personal and life-events; insomnia in three areas also: time to fall asleep, hours slept and waking mood. Total stress severity was significantly relieved by both compounds (p < 0.01) with no significant differences between them; as was also insomnia (p < 0.01). The proportion of patients with no side-effects was 58% with each drug respectively and the 'commonest' effect was vivid dreams with valerian (16%), followed by dizziness with kava (12% ). These compounds may be useful in the treatment of stress and insomnia but further studies are required to determine their relative roles for such indications.

Stress-induced insomnia treated with kava and valerian: singly and in combination
            (Wheatley, 2001a) Download
Kava and valerian are herbal remedies that are claimed to have anxiolytic and sedative properties respectively, without dependence potential or any appreciable side effects. In this pilot study, 24 patients suffering from stress-induced insomnia were treated for 6 weeks with kava (LI-150), 120 mg daily. This was followed by a 2-week 'wash-out' period off treatment, and then, five patients having dropped out, 19 received valerian (LI-156), 600 mg daily, for another 6 weeks. Then there was a further 2-week period off treatment, and a final 6 weeks of treatment of these 19 patients with the two compounds combined (kava + valerian). Stress was measured in three areas: social, personal and life events; insomnia in three areas also: time to fall asleep, hours slept and waking mood. Total stress severity was significantly relieved by both compounds individually (p < 0.01), with no significant differences between them; and there was also improvement with the combination, significant in the case of insomnia (p < 0.05). On direct questioning, 16 patients (67%) reported no side effects on kava, 10 (53%) on valerian and 10 (53%) on the combination. The 'commonest' effect was vivid dreams with kava + valerian (4 cases (21%)) and with valerian alone (3 cases (16%)), followed by gastric discomfort and dizziness with kava (3 cases each (3 %)). These results are considered to be extremely promising but further studies may be required to determine the relative roles of the two compounds for such indications. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

 


References

Abbasi, B., et al. (2012), ‘The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial’, J Res Med Sci, 17 (12), 1161-69. PubMed: 23853635
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——— (2001b), ‘Kava and valerian in the treatment of stress-induced insomnia’, Phytother Res, 15 (6), 549-51. PubMed: 11536390